Hello Rob. Hope you are well.When you think about it, if Californian could see a vessel 5 miles away and this vessel wasn't Titanic then why did they bother trying to Morse it?
If the rockets being fired, which according to Stone "appeared to come a good distance beyond" weren't coming from this mystery ship then Californian were clearly wasting their time contacting the wrong ship anyway.
If this mystery vessel was also firing rockets then how come no one on the Titanic mentions seeing them?
Finally, if the Titanic was looking at a vessel 4 to 7 Miles away and the Californian was looking at a vessel 5 miles away, and they were both looking at the same vessel then that would make the Californian between 9 and 12 miles from the Titanic and both within visual range of each other as well. That is of course unless by complete fluke, all three ships were on an exact line.
In fact, they began using the morse lamp before any vessel stopped. Groves was ordered to do so by Lord.
The use of the morse lamp on a merchant ship was very frequent..right up until the advent of VHF in the late 60s..70s. the lamp was ship- specific...wireless was only so if they used a particular call sign.
The use of the lamp by Stone and Gibson was by order of the Master. Obviously, the nearby vessel was closer to the source of the signals. It is therefore reasonable to assume that since she was, her Master's curiosity would also be aroused by them and might know more about the situation. You will note that Groves was confused concerning the source of
but one of these signals.
As with the fact that Californian was not seen from Titanic before impact, your point concerning what was seen (or not seen) from Titanic concerning rockets is significant.
If the nearby vessel was as, as Lord claimed, 4 miles from Californian and if his declared stopped position was correct, then that nearby vessel was 18 miles from the sinking Titanic and would also have been invisible to observers on board the latter. At best, it was no nearer than about 17 miles.
t would have been a shear fluke if there had not been several vessels in the immediate area , all heading westward.. After all, the location was mere 133 miles from The Corner, the point where very many vessel converged on before heading westward, and there was a lot of traffic in the area at the time....much of which would not be equipped with wireless. In fact, if I remember correctly, the MAIB Report drew attention to this.
The following rough sketch is how I see h situation:
Ships stopped by the barrier would be on a sight line. Earlier that morning, the SS Trautenfels was stopped by exactly the same barrier 2 or 3 miles to the SSE from where we see the Californian stopped.